Racism and Sexism

August 16, 2012 by Thomas Hodge  
Published in Women

This serves as a look into stereotypes and the media.

            In regards to gender stereotypes and the media, one should notice that the media simply amplifies the message that society presents about what each gender should do. In the media, the connotations about what stereotypes look like are provided in a subtle manner. The subtleness of the message is what causes individuals to be upset by the presence of such a message. As the message of a stereotype is less noticeable, individuals are more accepting of the stereotype, and the message is reinforced. The differences between male and female genders are reinforced by the roles and references made in movies, shows, and other marketed images by the context of how the characters are presented.

            Over the past few decades, the concept of gender equality has be cry of many civil rights, women’s rights, and community development groups along with countless parents that are concerned over the experiences that their children will face in the world. Unfortunately, the need and extra protection that is provided to groups that express concern over the disparity between different groups serves to be an example of unequal treatment. True equality is but a fleeting concept that we can only imagine to be over the horizon. We speak of the equality and imagine it to be a good thing, but we only consider equality when it is beneficial. To do away with stereotypical images and presentations of gender and race would be for all people to share the burdens of both the minority groups and the majority groups equally. The positioning of equality as a chance to provide more opportunity for advancement and betterment is highly appealing. However, to position the concept of equality as an opportunity to experience the burdens of another group causes the concept of equality to be much less appealing. With great privilege comes great responsibility. This is one thing that must be remembered when considering gender and race equality. The label of an associated group oppresses people in some manner. The type of oppression and limitations vary from group to group, but it is nonetheless present in some manner.

            The discrimination that is present in racism, sexism, and homophobia is the result of a resistance to change. It can be noted that the stereotypes and images presented in prior days was accepted because it was the norm. It was just normal for people to think that way. Only when society becomes aware of the message that is being provided do people desire a change. Often this is referred to as class-consciousness. In addition to class-consciousness, the people in society are also become aware of gender and sexual-consciousness. In this process of change, two distinct groups emerge. One group desires the change while the other resists the change. The group that resists the change and advancement are viewed as racist, sexist, or homophobic. This second group is simply unable to adapt to advancements in society and acceptance of others and differing cultures’ ways of viewing life and how gender, race, and sexual orientation are perceived. In the event of Disney movies and other media that perpetuates an old fashioned image of gender types and different ethnic groups, one could see this as the media benefiting from the continuation of an outdated image. The old image has proven to be accepted by past generation. To challenge that image would be to take a gamble. When dealing with money, companies, especially media conglomerates, do not like to gamble with a potential loss of revenue due to an image not being accepted as new. Therefore, they provide subtleties of the old image that is racist, sexist, or homophobic.

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